10 Heart-Breaking Moments Of Self-Realisation That Defined Great Movies

10. Last Action Hero - Jack Isn't Real

Last Action Hero
Columbia Pictures

Before Arnie became a self-referential parody of an action movie star, and even before he became a politician he offered arguably one of his finest performances, and definitely his most underrated in the Shane Black penned post-action movie Last Action Hero.

Arnie plays the caricature side of the character with subtle brilliance: picking apart the tropes in his own former characters and the genre that made him most famous in an affectionate way that doesn't have the outright destructive impact of spoofery, and serves to reinforce how great the conventions are (as Black later did with Iron Man 3.)

But the moment in the film that typifies how good Arnie is in the role comes when Slater realises he is a fictional character: all of his specific skills and characteristics that basically make him a God are stripped away, and in a moment before he is outraged that his life has been made so hard by writers and Schwarzenegger, there is a tragic beat to the character that adds major depth.

The tragedy of Jack's character ensures that the film is not only Meta in an "I'm-cleverer-than-you" sort of way, but also in a way that actually matters to the characters, and the emotional impact on the character is exactly why it's such a smart film.

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